If you were to travel back in time to tell my younger self that I would become a sex educator and writer when I grew up, I wouldn’t have believed you. As many other kids with a Catholic upbringing, I was taught that sex was only for the purpose of making a baby, and my sex education consisted of graphic STI images presented with a general “just don’t do it” attitude.
After 17 years of thinking I was a straight, “good” girl, I finally was introduced to some comprehensive, pleasure-based, queer-inclusive sex ed. “What does that even mean,” you may ask. It means that once I learned about sex in a way that normalized sexual pleasure between two or more consenting bodies, it totally changed my thoughts…and my life.
It was a first year Human Sexuality class in University that broke down this suddenly not so taboo wall and the knowledge, curiosity, and desire suddenly poured through.
From the beginning, I found it easier than most to discuss topics surrounding sexuality, with many of my friends and peers confiding in me to talk about tampons, lube, safe sex, coming out, and everything in between. I am thankful for all of these experiences that made me realize how important this work is and that continues to fuel my fire today.
When I tell people what I do for a living, a very common response is to assume that I’m mainly at schools, delivering puberty talks in-person to children. Although I have done that in the past, what I’ve learned in my 5+ years in the field is that sexuality is a lifelong learning subject. You’d be surprised how many adults don’t know basic anatomy parts, about how to live with and prevent STI’s, and/or have never tried a sex toy.
I strongly believe that everyone has the right – not privilege – to be the most informed about their body and the topics surrounding their sexual wellness, pleasure, health, etc. so that they can then make the best choices for themselves and their sexuality. Regardless of whether we’re talking about gender identity, pregnancy options, sex toys, STI’s, puberty, etc; it’s all important and it all matters. Sex education may change as we get older, become more experienced, and the world changes around us, but its value remains timeless.